MORTLAKE’S division two South West Cricket premiership triumph last Saturday was a relief according to victorious skipper Neil Kelly.
The Cats claimed their first division two flag since with a 75 run win over neighbouring rivals Woorndoo at Cobden Recreation Reserve.
Kelly said his side was relieved to secure victory after “we did all the hard work during the year”.
“We knew Woorndoo were going to give us a tough battle but like I said last week winning the toss and having runs on the board was huge,” he said.
“It was just a bit of relief and excitement (when we won).”
The Cats started the contest slowly with the loss of early wickets before the likes of Kelly (33), Nathan Jones (44) and Josh Jewell (39) turned around their fortunes.
Jones and Jewell shared a 90 run partnership to help Mortlake post a competitive total, which Kelly said proved decisive to the Cats’ victory.
“The pitch wasn’t as bad as everyone thought it was, once you got in on it, it played pretty well, it was just shot selection (that got blokes out),” he said.
“It did do a little bit early but that’s to be expected when you have a new ball on a turf.
“We were hoping for 130 onwards, we sort of thought that if we got to 130 that would be competitive and a partnership of 90 between Jonesy and Joshy Jewell really helped that.
“Without that partnership we quite possibly wouldn’t have even won.”
In reply, Woorndoo made a solid start to be 3/65 before the likes of Kelly (3/14), Jones (1/4) and Darcy Hobbs (1/5) snatched control of the contest.
Together they helped instigate a collapse of 7/14, which saw the Tigers dismissed for 79 in the 31st over.
“I was a bit worried when Grant Cameron and Jase Fowler were still in,” Kelly said.
“They were 3/50 odd and I thought geez if we don’t get some wickets soon we’re in a little bit of trouble.
“But we just kept taking wickets when we needed to, I don’t think there would have been too many extras, we just bowled good areas.”
Shane Slater (2/12) was another key bowler during the Tigers’ innings while Kelly reserved praise for one of his new-ball bowlers in Todd MacDonald (0/21).
“I usually only get four overs out of him before he falls away a little bit,” he said.
“But we got six of out him and he was unlucky not to get a wicket.
“He gave nothing away with the ball, he bowled really well.”
Kelly said his side’s premiership win capped off a strong season for the club, which also tasted success in the under 16 competition.
He said the club was excited about the latest crop of youth coming through the ranks, with the likes of Hobbs, MacDonald and Simon Atkinson mixing well with their more experienced team-mates in the premiership side.
“Any premiership is a good one but to come away with two and to have the under 16s finish second on the ladder is great for the club,” he said.
“The group of kids we have coming through (looks promising), we still have the likes of Shane Slater, Simon Ritchie, Nathan Jones, Josh Jewell and myself in there (division two) but there are three kids in there that still go to school too.
“It was just the perfect little balance, and most of those kids also played A grade during the year.”